Monday, June 24, 2013

Divergent Paths For The Injured Infield Corners

The Yankees got some good news and some bad news on their $50 million worth of injured All Star corner infielders today.  Earlier in the day, the Daily News reported that Alex Rodriguez has been cleared to start his MiL rehab assignment on July 1st.  He began taking live BP last week after doing running and fielding drills for the last few, so this is a pretty big step in his comeback.

Now the bad news.  Andrew Marchand had an update on Mark Teixeira's wrist and it was unsurprisingly negative.  Marchand reported that Teix is still feeling "pain" in the wrist after last week's cortisone shot while Cash called it "soreness."  Either way, that's not good and just one more step towards what now looks like an inevitable season-ending surgery.

The Yankees aren't getting great production from either infield corner right now with Adams and Overbay.  While A-Rod should be an upgrade at third when he's finally deemed ready to return, Cash might want to start checking in on options for first.

More Of The Same, Both Good And Bad, From Nova Yesterday

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

It was slightly fitting that Ivan Nova got the start yesterday on Old Timer's Day.  Like a lot of the Yankee old timers, he's become a rare sight on the field and in the dugout at Yankee Stadium.  We'd seen Nova only twice in the last 2 months before yesterday, both times as a relief pitcher, and hadn't seen Nova start a game since April 26th.  While it might look like Nova turned in a sound outing yesterday - 2 of the 3 ER charged to him scored on a single off Boone Logan - the overall performance and means used to get there was actually not that different from what we've become accustomed to getting from Nova.  The all too familiar results bring up more questions about what the future holds for Nova in a Yankee uniform.

Giving The Kids The Keys

(Courtesy of the AP)

Call me crazy, but I saw something significant in the small flurry of personnel moves the Yankees made last Friday.  No, it wasn't the end of the saddest SS platoon in history, although it did get a little dusty in here when I read that Reid Brignac was gone (not really).  It was the commitment being made to the young guys on the active roster that stood out to me.  In making that move to dump Brignac, call Alberto Gonzalez back up from Triple-A, and make Jayson Nix the everyday shortstop, the Yankees were also in effect giving the everyday starting third base job back to David Adams.  Add to that the insertion of Zoilo Almonte into the everyday lineup for Vernon Wells and it looks like the Yankees are finally ready to follow the demands of tons of fans out there and let the kids play.

Time To See How "Open For Business" The Yanks Really Are

Brian Cashman declared the Yankees "open for business"  on the trade market last week, not a huge declaration given the constant wheeling and dealing he's been doing since early in spring camp.  With the regular season now almost half over and the shine almost completely worn off the handful of spring acquisitions, now it's going to be put up or shut up time for Cash and the Yankees to follow through on that declaration with more than just marginal moves.

They've already been unlinked to Manny Ramirez and the recently DFA'd Ramon Hernandez, both of whom play positions at which the Yankees could afford to upgrade.  Their status as defensive liabilities and below-average offensive players hardly makes either an upgrade though, so Cash choosing to pass on them is understandable and justifiable.  But the trade market is starting to come together with both Chicago clubs announcing last week that they're looking to sell and more teams likely to follow suit in the next few weeks.

There's no question that there are potential upgrades to be had on both of those clubs should Cash try to pursue them.  What is a question is how aggressive the Yankees are willing to be to get those upgrades.  Cash considerations and players to be named later aren't going to get it done if they're serious about adding someone like Nate Schierholtz.  The lineup is still badly in need of a boost in multiple areas, and the team's willingness to seriously engage teams in talks over the next month will give insight into how serious they are about contending down the stretch this season and also possibly into how serious the budget plans for next season still are.

Game 75 Wrap-Up: TB 3 NYY 1

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

It was Old Timer's Day at The Stadium yesterday, always one of the most fun and most attended games of the year.  The regulars were all in attendance - O'Neill, Bernie, Cone, Guidry, Whitey, Yogi, etc. - along with a few new faces like John Flaherty and Orlando Hernandez.  Once those festivities were over, all eyes were on Ivan Nova, who was making his first start since late April.  As previously mentioned, there was little chance that Nova was being used for anything more than a spot start but he could still lay the groundwork for consideration later in the season with a good performance.  He turned in a pretty good one actually, albeit one that got stained a bit by some poor relief pitching behind him in the loss.

Game Notes:

- It was vintage Nova early and not in a good way.  He gave up a run in the top of the 1st on a couple of line drive singles and a walk.  His fastball command was spotty and he needed a big GIDP to escape the jam.

- In a continuation of a positive new trend, the offense picked up Nova immediately in the bottom half.  Brett Gardner singled and moved to second on an error, then third on a wild pitch.  Robinson Cano drove him home on a sac fly and the game was tied.

- After the tough 1st, Nova adjusted and went with more offspeed stuff early in the count.  His curveball was really working - the Rays hitters couldn't do much of anything with it -  and he leaned on it through 5 innings, scattering just a few more baserunners and striking out 7.

- Nova tired and hit 2 batters with 2 outs in the 7th, Shawn Kelley walked Evan Longoria, and Boone Logan hung a slider to James Loney to mar Ivan's final line and give the Rays a 3-1 lead.  Not what the binder ordered.

- The offensive dormancy returned after the 1st.  The Yanks left 2 on in the 3rd and the 4th, and stranded Zoilo on a 2-out double in the 6th, and that was about it for them.  Not much of a fight.